who are your favourite watercolour artist heros?

  • I am going to work on painting with water colour in December. The holiday session reminds me traditions, and I remembered that many of the traditional children's book illustrations are done in ink and water colour :-).

    I want to find water colour masters to study. Currently I am looking at Quentin Blake, Anita Jeram, Matthew Cordell and Vera Brosgol's art. I am also going to re-watch Lee White's water colour tutorial on SVS Learn.

    Do you have recommendations on which artist I should be studying?

  • @xin-li Great choices, and some names I don't know and get to look up! Off the top of my head, I absolutely love Lisbeth Zwerger, Jerry Pinkney, Chris Hong (an indie artist, not published) and classics like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Jessie Wilcox Smith, and Beatrix Potter. I also like Freya Blackwood. There's loads more but can't think of/list them right now.

    You should honestly just study the ones you really admire and resonate with you. There are lots of different techniques with the medium, so some might not be what you are looking for personally. But it's also good to try different things out because you never know when it could be useful! If you want to look at very traditional/classic stuff I would check out Golden Age stuff like Rachkam, Dulac, Potter, Greenaway, and Caldecott etc. The giftbook/fairytale type stuff. Those are absolute masters of I've ever seen them. There are loads of other great artists who did that stuff too. Zwerger is contemporary but she was very influenced by them and big fave of mine.

    I love talking about this stuff ❤

  • SVS OG

    I adore Esther Gili. She’s from Spain. I love how she handles the figure. Her color layers are just clean. I think I’ll do a master study of her work in January. I love a good color blend with water, but those layers take patience. They’re amazing.

  • SVS OG

    Lee’s class was awesome btw. I need to watch it again. He should probably do lots more of them!!!

  • @teju-abiola wow. Thank you so much for the recommendations. I will look thought the list and see what resonates me. It is always hard in the beginning to know what works for me. I will try a few different techniques, and see what sticks. Very excited!

  • @whitney-simms thank you. Love her colors and her drawing of children.

  • @rcartwright really amazed by how loose Joseph uses water colour, yet his paintings feel very realistic.

  • @xin-li Yes I personally don't enjoy watercolors that are too detailed to me it is the looseness and the way some artists let the water do it's thing that impresses me.

  • Carcamo is an amazing watercolor artist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CL2GPa906w check out this vid, it has a lot of his work.

  • SVS OG

    Why has nobody mentioned P. J. Lynch yet? But now that I think of it, I'm not positive he does watercolors... maybe it's gouache?

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @sarah-luann PJ Lynch is the best! So good and such an nice guy! He uses a combination of watercolor and gouache, but only a bit of gouache.
    Check out his process here:
    (be sure to follow up with part 2 for the painting part)

    In the vein of recommending watercolor illustrators, I gotta mention Holly Hobbie. I was just eyeing her Night Before Christmas https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316070181/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1
    She is really good!

  • @sarah-luann Love his work!

  • @phil-cullen I absolutely love Carcamo!

  • @teju-abiola watching him paint is amazing, he's crazy good

  • I believe Erich Heinemann worked in watercolor! (sorry if I am wrong) I absolutely love his works. and Carcamo is stunning as well

  • @xin-li If you're also interested in painters in general and other illustrators who don't use ink drawings:

    • Eudes Correia
    • Blanca Alvarez
    • Nuwka Ivanova
    • Agnes Cecile/Silvia Pelissero
    • Ewa Ludwiczak
    • Charles Reid
    • Craig Lueck
    • Iraville
    • Alvara Castagnet
    • Atsushi Matsubayashi
    • Kelogsloops
    • Ali Cavanaugh
    • James McMullan
    • Omar Rayyan
    • Jenny Dolfen
    • Leo Dolfini
    • Alisa Vysochina
    • Nick Runge
    • Benjamin Bjorklund
    • Vanessa Gillings (uses thin gouache)
    • Mary Whyte
    • Burt Silverman
    • Dean Mitchell
    • Mario Robinson
    • Anne Abgott
    • Stephen Scott Young
    • Dylan Scott Pierce

    I'll stop before it goes on forever 😅 Sorry if it's a long list; I'm very watercolor obsessed and am happy to have the opportunity to discuss it on the forums. I'd really suggest looking around on Instagram. I've discovered so many amazing watercolor artists there!

  • @davidhohn Surprisingly I've found, especially recently after checking out some watercolor books/videos, that a good amount of watercolor artists do actually use some opaque colors. How I didn't realize this sooner, I don't know. But it would've made me a lot more forgiving about my own work🙂

  • N.C. Wyeth is a fave if you want masters from the past.

  • @teju-abiola Thanks for writing this list I love finding new artists especially watercolour

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @teju-abiola If being forgiving in watercolor is your goal then check out the technique created by Burt Silverman and David Levine. It is crazy cool!
    Here's one by David Levine (You might recognize his name from his huge career as a NYTimes pen and ink caricature artist, but he created really beautiful watercolors as well)

    Burt Silverman created a how to book of the technique the two of them created:


    The whole point of the technique is to allow the watercolor painter to be able to lay down a wash of color and then lift it back up. Basically to try and get all the benefits of oil painting but with the immediacy (and non-toxicity) of watercolor. I watched George Pratt (comic book watercolor painter) give a demo of the technique this last summer. Really interesting!

    *Edit: I just saw that you are a senior at Ringling. So you likely have had George as an instructor. Actually now that I think about it maybe you've also already seen this particular demo? If not, sit George down and get him to paint for you!

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